Dan Millman presents The Peaceful Warrior's Way

PW Newsletter – July 2004


I send you July regards as we look back on another celebration of U.S. Independence Day. Our country, one of only a few with a distinct date of birth, was "born" on July 4, 1776 – a widely recognized and accepted date when we officially declared our independence from the mother country of England.

Those of you who have read The Life You Were Born to Live can appreciate that the numbers 7/4/1776 resolve to 32/5 – the "life path" of our country. As with individuals, our life path represents our karmic purpose — the mountain we're here to climb. Readers of the above book are aware that:

3 involves creative expression (and issues of self-doubt and blocked expression)
2 involves cooperation (and a tendency to "overcooperate or over-give," then shift to resistance, until we find a balance)
And the strongest, or final number, denoting the primary karmic purpose, is 5: Freedom (and issues of dependence/independence).

32/5 individuals root for the underdog, the underprivileged, and have a hunger for broad experience. They need to remember that discipline is the key to freedom. The same is true for the USA.

I wish you, each and all, many beautiful summer moments. I hope you will make time to relax, do a little travel.

Speaking of which, save your pennies and mark your calendar for the Peaceful Warrior Retreat at the wonderful Pura Vida Spa in Costa Rica, one year from this August – that's August of 2005!

I hope and trust that you'll enjoy our newly-formatted July PW Monthly.

Good Journeys,

In This Issue:

What Others Have Said
Upcoming Seminars
Wacky Wit and Wisdom
Web Link of the Month
A Message for all Seasons

What Others Have Said:

A life should aim at something outside self.
Hugh Black


People do not wish to be worse;
they really wish to become better,
but they often do not know how.
James Baldwin

Determine your future now
by taking hold of every opportunity.
Debbye Turner

When life gets tough
and a crisis is at hand;
when we must in an instant
look inward for strength of character
to see us through, we will find
nothing inside ourselves
that we have not already put there.
Ronald Reagan

To say yes, you have to sweat
and roll up your sleeves,
and plunge both hands into life
up to the elbows.
Jean Anouilh

Take a lesson from the mosquito.
It never waits for an opening;
it makes one.
Kirk Kirkpatrick

If you want to feel proud of yourself,
you've got to do things you can be proud of.
Feelings follow actions.
Oseola McCarty
Domestic worker and philanthropist

It is always sunrise somewhere . . .
John Muir

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• Click here to view our newly-designed Peaceful Warrior Website.


• Do you have comments? Opinions? Questions? Then visit:
The Peaceful Warrior Open Forum and interact with other bright-minded readers of my work!

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Upcoming Seminars this month and next . . .

It's a pleasure to stay in touch through the PW Monthly.
I hope to meet many of you personally at one of my upcoming seminars.



Fri.-Sun. July 16-18
A Peaceful Warrior Weekend intensive at the beautiful
Omega Institute, upstate NY
Info/Reg. 800-944-1001 – registration@eomega.org
For details, Click here.


Holidays and home, writing…

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Wacky Wit and Wisdom

Little Known Facts for the Truly Well Informed


The liquid inside young coconuts can be used as a substitute for blood plasma.

No piece of paper can be folded in half more than seven (7) times.

Donkeys kill more people annually than plane crashes.

You burn more calories sleeping than you do watching television.

Oak trees do not produce acorns until they are fifty (50) years of age or older.

The first product to have a bar code was Wrigley's gum.

The king of hearts is the only king without a mustache.

American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 by eliminating one (1) olive from each salad served in first-class.

Venus is the only planet that rotates clockwise.

Apples are more efficient than caffeine at waking you up in the morning.

Most dust particles in your house are made mostly from dead skin.

The first owner of the Marlboro Company died of lung cancer. So did the first "Marlboro Man."

Walt Disney was afraid of mice.

Pearls melt in vinegar.

The three most valuable brand names on earth: Marlboro, Coca Cola, and Budweiser, in that order.

It is possible to lead a cow upstairs…but not downstairs.

A duck's quack doesn't echo, and no one knows why.

Dentists have recommended that a toothbrush be kept at least six (6) feet away from a toilet to avoid airborne particles resulting from the flush.

Turtles can breathe through their butts.

Now consider yourself well informed…

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Web Link of the Month

The following web link may be your key through the looking glass, the door to Alice's rabbit hole, to that wardrobe closet in "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe…"


Click below to learn about a film titled "What the [bleep] is Going On?" Not playing at your local multiplex, but may come to your area soon – or wait for the video or DVD. This unusual film is about the Twilight Zone of the brain-mind, the interface of faith and physics, science and mysticism.


I have no kind of official connection to this film. Joy and I just went to see it, and found it oddly worthwhile, and a good reminder . . .

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A message for all seasons from Dan's book

Living on Purpose
Straight Answers To Life's Tough Questions

The following is House Rule #7 – one of twenty-four principles presented in the book.

Q: Most people know right from wrong.
Why don’t they do the right thing?

A: Consequences teach better than concepts.

Moral concepts are personal;
consequences are universal.
What one culture, religion, or nation prohibits,
another accepts as moral behavior.
What may be wrong
in one situation or circumstance
maybe be right in another.
Unchanging, unquestioned
rules of right and wrong
relieve us of thinking.
But life is not so simple.
Prisons are full of people
who understood the concepts,
but didn’t grasp the consequences.

Do we reap karmic consequences for our thoughts and feelings—or only from our actions?

The Hindu and Buddhist idea of karma refers to the consequences of our positive or negative actions that accrue from one lifetime to the next—not as reward or punishment, but for the soul's education. Whether or not we believe in reincarnation, we can see that our actions within this lifetime also reap consequences. Such consequences may be immediate, as when Joe curses his boss who then fires Joe, or when Sally performs an heroic act and earns a special award. Other repercussions may not appear for years, or may return to us in different forms. For example, if we behave with cruelty or dishonesty, we may not get caught or punished by local authorities, but the consequences can take the form of guilt-induced self-sabotage, illness, or other problems. But sooner or later, in one form or another, we learn from the consequences of our actions—and the results of our actions teach far more effectively than abstract concepts about right and wrong and morality (which change from one era or culture to another).

Your question, however, asks whether we reap consequences only for our actions or for our thoughts and feelings as well. To answer this, let’s first consider the issues of control and of responsibility. To control is to make something happen by willing or intending it to happen. (I am not responsible for the weather, because I cannot will it to change.) Common sense tells us that we are responsible only for what we can control. Unless I have a physical disability, I can control my behavior—the actions or movements I make with my body. Therefore, I am responsible for—and reap positive or negative consequences—for whatever I do or say. So I am responsible for my actions, and the consequences of those actions, without exception or excuse. I can control my actions whether or not I am feeling good feelings or thinking positive thoughts.

But do I reap karmic consequences for my thoughts and feelings? Am I responsible for them? Only if I can control them. And reality eventually reveals to us that there are many ways to influence our mind—we can try to distract ourselves, to think about something different, to shift our attention or our way of viewing a situation), we have no actual control over the thoughts that arise. We can also influence our emotions (through changing our posture, our breathing, or state of relaxation, or our environment), we have no direct control over emotions that arise.

To influence means to exert an effort toward a desired goal, but is not the same as control. We do not plan to think a thought before it arises; nor can we stop an emotion from arising, or fall in or out of love, or instantly change our feelings. So it comes to this: no control, no responsibility—no karmic consequences for feelings or thoughts.

Despite popular rhetoric and idealistic strategies for positive thinking, fixing feelings, or otherwise trying to manipulate our subjective inner world, it is our actions that build a purposeful life, and the consequences of those actions are the most powerful teachers on Earth. By accepting thoughts and feelings as they are, while focusing on constructive action, we build a solid foundation for living on purpose.

About a year ago I had an affair with a married woman. I had known her and her husband for years. Unhappy with her marriage, she left her husband to be with me. I recently ended the relationship and am relieved that it’s over. Needless to say, I am no longer a friend of this woman’s husband, and I feel terrible guilt. Do you agree that I should ask his forgiveness for my selfish behavior?

Your desire to ask forgiveness—an act of humility and healing—indicates that you recognize the consequences of your actions; that you have brought a measure of suffering to this woman, to her husband, and to yourself. You may also realize that many women may at times be unhappy in their marriage, but not all have affairs—and many men are tempted to adultery, but not all succumb as you did. I expect that you have learned from the consequences of your actions. But if you believe this is only a lesson about the liabilities of adultery, you miss the larger lesson: As Robert Louis Stevenson once said, Eventually, everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences.

Life's consequences help us to learn and evolve far better than concepts of right or wrong. In your case, you knew it was wrong to be part of this woman’s betrayal of her marriage vows—but you did it anyway, because it is easier to rationalize one’s behavior in the haze of erotic passion than to fight temptation: After all, weren’t you helping an unhappy woman to feel loved again? Could you help it if she fell in love with you? Maybe your intrusion into the relationship even helped create needed change, right?

Many men have fallen for such seductive and flattering ideas.

You now seem to regret your actions—but have you learned from them? If you fell in love with another woman in an unhappy marriage, what would you do? (Hint: Mistakes are natural, but intelligence means not making the same mistake twice.)

In wanting to ask his forgiveness so that you might feel relieved, you may be using the same approach that got you into this situation–acting on your emotions, doing what promises to make you feel good (or at least better). So ask yourself: Do you wish to do this for him or for yourself? What will it accomplish? Will it make him feel better to know that you are sorry, or will it open old wounds?

Rather than ask your ex-friend for something—forgiveness—you might simply offer something to him—a heartfelt apology—by letter. Or find a way to do him a good turn, to perform an anonymous service on his behalf. Whether or not you decide to contact him, accept the consequences of your mistake, learn from them, and get on with your life—maybe sadder but perhaps wiser.

Continuing next month LIVING ON PURPOSE: Straight Answers to Life's Tough Questions – available at your local bookstore, or at amazon.com.

Wishing you good journeys,